Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 6, 2016

Take A Look Sunday – Mike Ciccotello


Wilkinson Studios, Inc. is an international agency representing artists from around the world.  We specialize in illustration for Publishing, Advertising, Editorial, and Corporate industries, creating artwork for Children’s and Adult Trade Books, Mass Market and Board Books, Graphic Novels, Educational Programs, Magazines, Print Ads, Packaging, Websites, and Apps. We also do Games, Puzzles, Toys, and Character Development, and have hundreds of images available for Licensing.  Wilkinson Studios also represents their illustrator’s own authored works to the Publishing industry, and will be launching Wilkinson Studios Press through Ingram, a POD publishing venue designed to market and distribute their illustrator’s books both nationally and internationally. 

Christine Wilkinson has been representing artists since 1985, and founded Wilkinson Studios, Inc. in 1998.  Her business partner, Lisa O’Hara, has been with the company since the beginning, and is an integral part of their success.  Both Chris and Lisa have graphic design and illustration backgrounds, bringing a broad understanding of the needs specific to publishers, editors, design, and art professionals.  Wilkinson Studios also provides art management services, with a skilled staff of project management specialists involved in the important details of procurement, creation, quality control, and delivery of art for clients in almost every country.

Here is Chris:

TAKE A LOOK SUNDAY – REVIEW:  Mike Ciccotello  “The Carrot Thief”

There is a sense of fun and adventure in these 3 illustrations by Mike Ciccotello. We see Rabbit with a look of panic on his face, reaching into the carrot bin, then apparently ‘on the run’ with his carrot, and flying through the air with his accomplice, a sea turtle (who seems quite at ease out of water!).


Mike’s dark blues with rim lighting, and subdued color palette put the focus on Rabbit, with his white fur, and on Turtle, a brighter green in the night sky. The first image – the grocery store scene – could use a bit more lighting however, as it is obviously an indoor ‘typical’ looking store. Having this scene lit differently, with light from the back refrigerated area, and the kind of spotlights that grocery stores often have shining down in their produce sections, would give Mike the opportunities to show his other, wonderfully quirky characters in more detail.  Right now, the vegetables pop more than the characters, and I don’t think this is the intention that Mike had when illustrating this scene.  Light could then also be used to emphasize Rabbit’s thievery more.


Rabbit’s pose and expression in the first scene is priceless – like a little kid doing something wrong for the first time. Because these reviews only allow for 2 to 3 images from a story, what we can’t discern is why Rabbit is stealing the carrot, an obviously upsetting thing for him to be doing, as evidenced by his fright while running away in the second scene.  Here the limited palette allows for dramatic light from the moon, reflecting off of – surprise! – umbrellas!  Not what I was expecting when I first glanced at this scene, and wondered “what are those?”.  This little visual surprise adds to the suspense of wanting to know more about Rabbit’s world – why are there so many people (animals?) out on a dark rainy night? And why did he steal the carrot in the first place?


Which brings us to the third scene in Mike’s story – Rabbit on the flying Turtle. I’m sure there is some explanation in the story line about why the Turtle is flying in the air (other than he just does) as the other scenes are more grounded in actual reality with a grocery store, houses, moon, clouds – all things we know even though the characters aren’t human.  If magical flying turtles are a part of Rabbit’s world, then Mike will need to build that world from the beginning of the story to have it make “sense” to a child, or else he’ll get questions like “Mom, why is that turtle flying?”.  Kids are realists, – with a ton of imagination certainly – but if something doesn’t “make sense” they’ll find it right away.

I really love the texture in Mike’s work – it looks like these images were done with pastels (but it could be digital).  This technique could easily be smeary or overdone, which dulls down the colors, but Mike keeps it fresh and his handling of the medium is agile even though his scenes are quite dark overall.  Some drops of rain in scene 2 would add texture, and also help explain the umbrellas a bit more – a few simple streaks in the sky with the pastels could bring the scene together.

Overall, a good start to what looks like an interesting story! I can’t wait to find out more about Rabbit and his adventures!

Thank you Chris for taking the time to share your expertise with us. It helps so many illustrators and is very much appreciated. Here is the Wilkinson Agency website link:


Mike’s Bio:

Mike specializes in illustration and motion graphics, where he gets to tell stories with art. He received a BFA with a concentration in painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Mike has fourteen years experience in broadcast motion graphics, working at CNN and Fox Business Network. Currently, he is the Art and Design Director at Telos Corporation. His art has been featured on, CNN,, Artists & Makers Magazine, and Industry Magazine. He has exhibited at Johnson & Johnson Headquarters and the NY Design Center.

Website:   Facebook:

Twitter: @ciccotello   Instagram: @ciccotello  Email:



If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what is working or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two or Three SEQUENTIAL illustrations (Two/three with the SAME “story/characters‎”) to:

Kathy.temean (at) Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be chosen.

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATORS: Remember I’m always looking for illustrations I can use with articles I post. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) Put ILLUSTRATION FOR BLOG in the subject area. Remember all illustration need to be 500 pixels wide. Include a blurb about yourself, too.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. A great review of a fantastic artist!


  2. Great Review of Mike’s work. The art def draws me into the story.


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